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The Beast Of The Apocalypse - "Henosis" (CD)

The Beast Of The Apocalypse - "Henosis" CD cover image

"Henosis" track listing:

1. One (2:58)
2. Vision of the Twelve Priests Before the Altar (6:07)
3. I Am Not Worthy to Utter Thy Name (5:21)
4. Henosis (5:20)
5. An Enlightened Aeon (6:56)
6. The Immortal Realm of Barbelo (5:06)
7. Yaldabaoth (6:46)

Reviewed by on March 18, 2011

"This record is the stuff nightmares are made of, and the type of sick music that fans of the genre gravitate towards with a unnatural level of eagerness."

It’s hard to be frightened by black metal, with the goofy posturing and copious amounts of “kvlt” face paint that resembles an evil Krusty the Clown. Everything that is supposed to be heinous and terrifying, from the imagery to the lyrics, comes across as effective as a group of bored teenagers mimicking Mercyful Fate. Cheap tactics like unwarranted low-fi production and an abundance of distortion only reinforce how difficult it is to get under a listener’s skin. However, there are always the exceptions to the rule, and The Beast Of The Apocalypse stands out as one of the most blatant ones with their second album “Henosis.”

“Henosis” continues in the direction of lengthy, noisy black metal that started with “A Voice From The Four Horns Of The Golden Altar.” An impending feeling of dread circles the album like a hungry vulture looking to feast on a fresh corpse. The seven songs generate a sense of discomfort, even in the ambient moments like the synth-driven intro track, “One.” There is no ease-in period; the band drops into the thick of madness right from the onset of “Vision Of The Twelve Priests Before The Altar.”

The Dutch pair have cleaned up their sound enough to make it coherent to process. Earphones are definitely needed to gain a full appreciation of the record. Listening to it through speakers compared to plugging in headphones is a vast difference. The production still has the “recorded in a cave” quality, while the dueling screeches and shouted bellows are incomprehensible without lyrics handy. Judging by the meaning of the album title (philosophy-based, involving unity and connecting with the source of being), it sounds like a thought-provoking subject that will be passed over by 99% of its audience.

Blasting drum beats and static-filled riffs dominate the title track and “The Immortal Realm of Barbelo,” but the real intrigue lies with the use of chilling synth and bone-crushing bass guitar breaks on “I Am Not Worthy To Utter Thy Name.” These transitions are done in a seamless manner, placed to build anticipation towards the next frantic blackened sonic punch. The band recreates this several times to positive results, including the bleak closer “Yaldabaoth.”

A tough record to swallow, “Henosis” is for serious black metal enthusiasts only. Memorable songwriting is nowhere to be found, an unfortunate side-effect of this style of black metal, but there are enough tempo changes to make it bearable to get through. This record is the stuff nightmares are made of, and the type of sick music that fans of the genre gravitate towards with a unnatural level of eagerness.

Highs: Sounds like the apocalypse in sonic form, synth work adds layers to the music, tempo changes keep the music from becoming repetitive

Lows: Tough record to get into, only for serious black metal fans, fascinating lyrical content will be looked over due to the vocals

Bottom line: A static, chilling mess of noise that is for serious black metal enthusiasts only.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)